Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2010/May

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I was having a discussion on IRC with markie and Tempodivalse over a block markie made over an edit the IP made. In the end, we agreed that WN:Comments needed a clarification on what was acceptable or not on the comments page. As a newbie, I'll stay out of this, but I'd like this to go somewhere. Griffinofwales (talk) 22:55, 23 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

That is simple vandalism. People are allowed to post basically anything they want in Comments: namespace. But if it is hateful, flat out insulting, or plain vandalism/spam/etc - kill it with fire. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 22:58, 23 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Well... If it's any of the above for the sake of doing so then kill it etc. However, if some serious attempt is made to express what appears to be a genuinely held distasteful opinion then it stays. Shaka, of course, knows which article in particlar it would be quite wrong to censor all hate from the comments page for. That last sentence is shit. Ha, got in before all you grammer, eh, Nazis. I can't be bothered thinking of anything better at one in the morning. You get the point. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 00:04, 24 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Someone said nazi? :-p --Diego Grez let's talk 22:23, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

new CSD criteria

I propose a CSD criteria that would allow near-empty categories (1-2 articles) to be deleted immediately without going through a RFD. The community seems to be ok with deleting them, and this would only speed up the process. Griffinofwales (talk) 22:11, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Portals too. Griffinofwales (talk) 22:12, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
We'll have to be more specific. Category:Tuvalu, for example, currently has only two articles, but country-level categories are, as I understand the policy, considered necessary. Therefore, I think that we should add to CSD only categories below the "top-level", so to speak. Benny the mascot (talk) 22:20, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Aye. There are 'important' categories that need to be kept. There are less importants (ex. Category:Pichilemu) that need to be kept because they have many articles. --Diego Grez let's talk 22:22, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
That was the type of category I was referring to. Anything not top-level shouldn't be kept (referring to empty cats). Griffinofwales (talk) 23:05, 1 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Ok, but let's set the minimum at 5 articles. Categories with less than 5 articles shouldn't exist yet. Benny the mascot (talk) 01:21, 2 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Meh, I think most of those categories should still go through DR. There are too many special cases for a speedy delete rule about it. Bawolff 19:13, 2 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Agree, better to get community input for these sort of things. DRs can always be closed early if the result is obvious; WN:IAR. Tempodivalse [talk] 19:20, 2 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Agree with bawolff and Tempo. These should probably go through WN:DR. Mikemoral♪♫ 19:31, 2 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

  • Comment Please don't import jargon from The Other Place. Over use of terms such as "CSD" and "RFD" is particularly offputting to those who are not already heavily involved in Wikimedia projects. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:13, 13 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Accreditation and real name

(This has been discussed on IRC a few times before, but without any clear indication as to what community consensus on the issue is.) I've been wondering about this for some time now: is it permissible for a user to obtain accreditation by using a real-sounding pseudonym, not his real, legal name? If so, it would make requesting AR a much more inviting for those not wishing to divulge their identities (such as myself, Cirt, Bennythemascot, etc.). The policy doesn't appear to say one way or the other on this issue. Open to thoughts. Tempodivalse [talk] 03:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I think accredited reporters should make visible their name and an easy way to contact them. --Diego Grez let's talk 03:29, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Um, this wasn't intended as a vote or even a proposal, I just wondering what community opinion on this is. Personally I don't really have any strong feelings one way or the other. Tempodivalse [talk] 03:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I suppose I should comment here since I think I can guess what prompted this thread. :) Since AR has no legal or official real-world implications, I don't see an issue with using a "pen name" (so long as that's made clear, both on-wiki and when utilizing your status for journalism purposes). I personally used my first and middle names, which is what I use all over the internet and even in some real-life (ish?) circumstances, to apply for AR. However as Diego says, accredited users should be easily contactable in case of any issues. –Juliancolton | Talk 03:33, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict)Among Julian's lines, I'd say it'd be best to identify yourself as using a pen name. Like in a nice disclaimer next to your listing in WN:CV. --Mikemoral♪♫ 03:36, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Define "real". In many jurisdictions (such as mine) simply using a random name I gave myself will make that one of my legal names. I can get a bank account in that name, a passport in that name and be charged under that name. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 06:41, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Mm, by "real name" I had meant birth name, the name one uses in everyday life, passport name, etc. Although I suppose that sort of stuff does depend on jurisdiction, yeah. So does all this mean I can go request AR under a pseudonym, and it wouldn't be against policy? Tempodivalse [talk] 14:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think there was ever any policy for or against it - it's a grey area. I wouldn't oppose that for sure. All that said, IIRC David Shankbone's birth certificate carries a different name. I could be wrong on that though. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:45, 3 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • It is a relatively well-known secret that David Shankbone is a pseudonym; although, pen name seems less appropriate as his primary focus has been photography. Pen names do have some history in journalism, such as that of Eric Arthur Blair – who I added a quote from to the style guide today. I would add a caveat to this, in that someone on-project should know your real name; I would be happy if that was through use of identifying to the Foundation, as is required for OTRS or CheckUser access. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:17, 13 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • What I've been wondering is, it really so necessary to give out the legal name? The idea is accountability, I know, but it really doesn't verify or help anything. I mean, I could come up with a false name, pass it off as my real name, and nobody would ever know the difference (unless we have WMF-style identification with passport, but this is not current practise). How important is it? Tempodivalse [talk] 23:28, 13 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think it depends on the level of reporting that you plan to do. If you're working on high school sports articles (like me) and other relatively trivial stuff, a pen name should probably be fine. If you're working on more intense reporting, such as investigative reports, then you should provide your real name for accountability, verifiability, and such. Benny the mascot (talk) 14:09, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • Tempo, my point is that someone should know your details – much like a senior editor would. As stated, that could be through identifying to the foundation, i.e. Cary. I would trust him to defend someone's right to anonymity, and being ex-EFF, Mike Godwin would probably stick up for that too. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk' 14:22, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes, I understand, but that's not current practise. My point is: unless we actually implement that (which I'm not opposed to, BTW), just asking people to divulge a "real name" as we do now is useless because there's no way it can be verified as true for accountability purposes.Tempodivalse [talk] 14:30, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm torn on this- on the one hand, I can understand why someone would be reluctant to divulge their real name on-wiki. Personally, I'd have no objection to doing so here, but because of my activity as an admin on Wikipedia, I have some concerns that someone with less-than-pure motives might find that here but I suppose I'm still not averse to divulging my full name. On the other hand, I think, for the professional look and feel of WN (ie for it to be taken seriously by potential interviewees) and for accountability of those entrusted with AR, we should require a real name. I think we should require ARs to identify themselves formally to someone on-wiki and since the WMF are set up for that for CU/OS/OTRS etc, that would seem a sensible method to use. If editors have legitimate concerns for not wishing to divulge their real name, that shouldn't prevent them from getting AR if they have need of it (though, thinking aloud, surely the credentials should be issued in the real name) and a real-sounding pseudonym should be acceptable. If we were to go with the "real-sounding" pseudonym, would mine be acceptable or would I have to use a first name (hypothetical question- I've no need for AR for the foreseeable future)? HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:51, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • I understand why some want real names to be used, but there are good reasons not to divulge your real name. If Cirt's real name was splattered all over Wikinews, it is entirely possible that he'd have been sued into bankruptcy by now by the Church of Scientology (that's common practise for them when people "libel" them by printing factually accurate stories about their organization). Hiding behind the WMF by only divulging your real name to them is all well and good, but could the WMF withstand a sustained, largescale legal assault by the CoS? I think not. They're barely surviving financially as is. It wouldn't take much to sue them into non-existence. We've recently seen what Jimbo's response is when funding is threatened: he'd sell his own grandmother for dogmeat if it would help secure current and future funding. If it came right down to it, and the WMF's very existence was threatened by a massive lawsuit for your identity, they'd give in, no question. Your anonymity isn't as important as Wikipedia's survive (and I agree with them on that future decision, btw:P). Here's what I think we should do: have *two* categories of accreditation. A type 1 accreditation that uses real names and other information, and a type 2 accreditation that makes it entirely clear up front that the person who gets it will be using a pseudonym. That way we can preserve some of the credibility of accreditation without sacrificing the anonymity of those who require it for their type of reporting. We can have the best of both worlds. :) Gopher65talk 16:15, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    • Good compromise. I'd still be slightly more comfortable with someone on-wiki knowing some basic personal details, but I suppose if one is trusted enough by the community under a pseudonym to get AR, there's not much risk of it being used abusively (one would hope). HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 16:32, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with Gopher, having a two-tier accreditation policy is a good way to go. Danger of lawsuits is one reason I (and many other contributors, I suppose) am reluctant to divulge my name; the other is simply a bigger risk of stalking - it wouldn't be too difficult, if given a person's general location and full name, to do some searching and pinpoint him to an address. A pseudonym would avoid all of this. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:39, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Please note!

Where a political figure (or any repeately reported-on individual) reaches a threshold of three or more articles, the following should be done:
  1. A redirect, eg Joseph Stalin should be created which points to Category:Joseph Stalin.
  2. The category (Category:Joseph Stalin should be created as a brief page, and use - among other details - the {{wikipedia}} template to link to their Wikipedia article.
  3. All existing articles where they are mentioned should be searched for (hint: use "Stalin, Joseph" to avoid the redirect interfering with the search).
  4. For each matching article, archived or not, the first occurrence of someone's name should point to the local redirect; the second occurrence may be set to point to the relevant Wikipedia article.
I have just done this for Alex Salmond. I recently did so for Nick Clegg, and preference of local links is something a lot of our new recruits from Wikipedia need to pick up on. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:51, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Something I've often wondered about is if we should bite the bullet and try to create categories for political parties. E.g. Category:UK Liberal Demotwat party, Category:UK Conservaspiv party etc. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 10:42, 17 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

You forgot Category:UK Blab-bour party. :DD On a more serious note, wouldn't just creating the politician categories be enough? I favour a slightly more minimalist approach, and don't see a big need to do categories on everything mentioned in an article. Tempodivalse [talk] 13:44, 17 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Creating a category policy

I feel that the current categorization system we have is not catching up with our growing collection of articles. While we have enough categories for geographic location and general topic, we don't have enough categories on public figures (politicians, actors, etc) or important events (earthquakes, elections, etc). Therefore, I request that the community to revisit the failed policy proposal Wikinews:Categories and topic pages and create a robust categorization system. A few ideas:

  • Per Brian McNeil above, categories for public figures should be created once there are three (or five? This is open to debate) articles about that person. 
  • The same should apply to key events, such as elections and natural disasters. 
  • All categories should be organized into an understandable hierarchy that is easy to navigate. 
    • People like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Ted Kennedy should be categorized not into "United States" and "Politicians", but rather into "United States politicians", which would then be categorized into both "United States" and "Politicians".
    • Places like Illinois, California, and New York would be categorized into "US States" instead of being categorized directly into "United States". This would alleviate many of the clutter we have in the United States subcategories.
  • Local links will be encouraged.

Thoughts? Benny the mascot (talk) 14:15, 22 May 2010 (UTC) [reply]

I agree. I'll create some as soon as I come back home. --Diego Grez return fire 14:16, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Ok, great! But I'd like to have a written policy as well, so that we are all on the same page. Benny the mascot (talk) 14:18, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
If you've no idea what I mean by normalised, go look up some stuff on database design. You don't store two copies of pieces of information in different places where it can get out of sync - unless needed for performance reasons. And, then you use additional code to keep the two in sync. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:13, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
And, write a policy? Pffft! You're just setting up challenges for Shaka and myself to apply the stealth IAR. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:15, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
But if we put all politicians into Category:Politicians and all US-people in Category:United States, then both pages would get ridiculously huge and hard to navigate. We need smaller, more specific categories, IMO. Benny the mascot (talk) 16:28, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
We've already got stuff like that—Category:Hillary Clinton, Category:Louisiana, etc. I don't see anything preventing more like those to be created. C628 (talk) 16:35, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • Benny, re-read what I wrote. Use DPL. Filing someone in the correct category is mandatory. Creating needless categories is a waste of time. Duplicating information is bad database management practice. Trust me, know what I'm talking about. I was designing databases and their management systems before you were born. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:23, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I don't see how DPL is going to help here. If I understand your suggestion correctly, a DPL for US politicians would create a separate list of people both in the "United States" and "Politician" categories, but it still keeps those two categories unnecessarily large and hard to navigate. Benny the mascot (talk) 17:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Needless to say, I've never designed a proper database in my life, but it seems to me more like creating an extra layer to go through to reach the information than an outright duplication. Wether that's a good thing or not... Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 17:42, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
What I think Brian is trying to say is that a DPL can be configured to display pages in several specific categories, not one. For instance: Instead of creating a Category:US politicians, we could configure a DPL to list all pages containing the categories "US" and "Politicians", which is more economical. The less of this category-layer stuff we need to have, the better, IMO. We're not like Wikipedia, which doesn't have the luxury of the dynamic lists and so has to categorise it manually. Tempodivalse [talk] 18:15, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I know what DPLs do, and I think Benny probably does too. What I'm struggling to grasp is how they solve the issue of massively cluttered parent category pages - equally, I'm not convinced that the solution is any better than the problem it fixes. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:22, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I know what DPLs do. Basically I agree with whatever Blood Red Sandman said. Creating an internal Category:United States politicians would reduce clutter on Category:United States and Category:Politicians while keeping article categorization (and hopefully DPL capabilities) unchanged. Benny the mascot (talk) 18:40, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Okay, since we're all clear that a DPL is a great way to find out what is simultaneously in both categories, evidently some other objection is being raised here to "large" categories. I'm having difficulty understanding what objection is being raised (and I can't disagree, nor agree, with the objection until I know what it is). Is this about whether people get added to large categories like Category:United States, or is it about something else? --Pi zero (talk) 19:50, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
The problem is that large categories with lots of subcats are apparently quite hard to navigate. I say apparently not because I don't believe Benny, but just because I don't tend to browse categories much. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 20:11, 22 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Hm. On Wikinews, I think of categories as a tool for DPL selection. Categories as a direct means of taxonomy on Wikipedia have always seemed to me rather clunky, and I simply ignore category hierarchy there; for data with no inherently top-down structure, I'd rather browse one category with a thousand pages than a category with ten subcategories each with ten subcategories each with about ten pages. Wikibooks can use category hierarchy more usefully, but our data here seems to me more like the chaos of Wikipedia than the library classification of Wikibooks. For us, other than the natural geographical hierarchy, I would think even category browsing would favor larger flatter categories, rather than intersection categories like "US Politicians". --Pi zero (talk) 01:05, 23 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with most of this (when theres enough articles for a topic, create a category. seems like no brainer). I don't like the idea of a category specificly for subcategories. It just seems wrong. I don't see why having a large number of subcategories is that bad thing. Really I would expect most people to browse subcategories via things like {{United States/Subdivisions}}. Bawolff 07:17, 23 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Also Wikinews:Categories and topic pages has some things I don't like. Pages should be categorized in broad and specific categories, not just the broad one. Also, I have never seen anyone do [[Category:California/Los Angeles]]. Stuff like Category:City, province/state is more common. I would suggest for any tertiary political divisions we use something like [[category:Los Angeles, California]]. Bawolff 07:17, 23 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I can see why you prefer using DPLs instead, but I think my suggestion of categorizing the subcategories would definitely help in making the parent categories seem less clunky. Benny the mascot (talk) 20:04, 25 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
The categories are not clunky. They are functional. Accurate categorisation of data is completely different from human convenience. Maintaining "artificial" categories for your convenience is a waste of resources best aimed at the production of news. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:45, 28 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]